As it continues to fight the suspensions of four players in the Saints’ bounty investigation, the NFL Players’ Association recently brought up the fact that in 1996, the NFL said it was OK with former Packers defensive end Reggie White giving teammates money in exchange for making big hits. But one of White’s old teammates wants to make clear that White never gave teammates money for injuring opponents.
Former Packers defensive back Leroy Butler said on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee that the Packers’ “Smash for Cash” program in the 1990s had nothing to do with hurting players on the other team.
“I don’t want people to think that it was like a violent thing — go after Steve Young’s arm for $5,000 or go after Jerry Rice’s knee for $2,000, things of that nature,” Butler said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “But if you came up and smacked a guy and he fumbles the ball and you pick it up, if a guy wanted to give you some money, the league [said] everything’s fine. And this was 15, 16 years ago. Everything was fine. Now, it’s like you throw in the word bounty. ‘Oh we’ve never heard of that before, that’s crazy.’”
The four players the NFL suspended in the Saints’ bounty case — Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita — have all insisted that they never exchanged money for injuries, either. The NFLPA’s contention is that if the NFL was OK with what the Packers were doing then, it’s not fair to suspend the Saints now.